Road Tripping with Kids: A 4 Part Series

This summer my family of six went on an epic road trip. My husband and I, plus our four kids (ages 8, 6, 4, and 2), covered 7,457 miles, 17 states, and 98 hours of driving over the span of 35 days.

As I prepared for this trip I tried to do a lot of reading online. It didn’t seem to matter what my Google search was, I couldn’t find practical tips that were going to help me on our journey. So I took to Facebook to elicit advice from friends and there I got some gold nuggets. But still, I was trying to weed through the 65 comments my post got. There were repeats and still some impractical advice. I prepared the best way I could, and we went for it.

OUR TRIP WAS AMAZING! I learned so much about road tripping with kids and decided to compile them here for the next desperate momma looking for realistic advice on the topic. And because it’s extensive, I’ve divided it into a four part serious: (1) Food and eating, (2) Driving and taking breaks, (3) Car packing and organizing, and (4) Scheduling.

Part 1: Advice on food and eating

  • Eat in the car Make eating one of your “in-car activities”. Eating takes time. It requires the kids to actively engage in something and it is incredibly distracting from the boring drive.

  • Have meal times Otherwise the kids will ask 100 times for a snack. Set a snack time, a breakfast time, a lunch time, etc. Pack for these meals in your in-car ice chest (if you have room) so you don’t have to stop. The kids ate a lot of Uncrustables, Gogurts, squeeze applesauces, and apples. To make the endless chest of ice less difficult to navigate I put these items grouped in gallon bags.

  • Additional tips Bring small paper cups to distribute snacks in. My 4-year-old is terrible at not spilling a bag of goldfish, but he does much better with them in a cup. Also, bring some small candy. I brought a huge bag of Starbursts. When kids get testy, whiny, difficult, etc. a handful of Starburst can completely turn their mood around. (Mine too!)

Keep an eye out for the next part in this series, and be sure to comment if you've learned any other tips to help other moms out on road tripping.

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